Wednesday, March 23, 2016

God of All Comfort

I try not to talk about my health issues very much because I feel like I'm just feeling sorry for myself - which many times I am - however, I ran across (funny how that works) a passage during my quiet time this morning that really hit home.  It just spoke to my heart in such a clear way that I felt that God wanted me to share.

A little background first - I no longer work outside the home because of health issues.  We have recently moved to North Carolina and live in a cabin on a mountain with only one neighbor in sight.  I have not met anyone here yet and have not started visiting churches due to the pain that is associated with a herniated disc. Because of this isolation, I feel that at this time and in this place, my ministry has to be through written word to unknown receivers.  I am trusting God that He will deliver my heart through my words to those who can be comforted and find faith in Jesus my savior.

I have been struggling with severe back and leg pain for the last six months.  An MRI was finally ordered and revealed that I had a herniated disc that was pinching my nerve root causing sciatic pain.  While I was not happy with this diagnosis, it at least gave me hope of a cure.  However, to make a long story short, I am not a good candidate for surgery due to my other issues.  So I find myself with only the hope that God will cure or give me the strength and mercy to function with the pain and limited ability.

I happened to read 2 Corinthians 1:3-11 this morning. As is often the case, I find that during my quiet times, if I read long enough, God is going to speak to me about something I'm struggling with or something that a friend is struggling with.  This morning was no exception:

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort who comforts us in all our affliction"

Note - Here is a promise that God will comfort us in all of our affliction and what is amazing is that the God of the universe goes on to give us an answer to our question "why must we suffer"

"so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.  For we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too."

Wow!!  My suffering isn't in vain - not only is God going to comfort me but he is also going to use my pain to help others in their pain - he even says that I will share in the pain of Christ - I can't even get my head around this completely, but when I look at my suffering compared to Christ's suffering - this is a reality check and a sure fire cure for feeling sorry for myself.

"If we are afflicted it is for your comfort and salvation: and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer.  Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort."

Here is another blow to my ego as Paul reminds us of his sufferings, but we already have the promise that God comforts us in all of our afflictions - he doesn't use a scale.  Notice also that Paul says our afflictions can result in salvation!  What more could we ask for?  This makes my pain bearable and that is comfort in itself,  but Paul also tells the Corinthians that his hope for them is unshaken.  He turns the suffering around - he doesn't dwell on it and question it - his love and hope is for those who he ministers to.  My prayer is that God will give me this love for others that will outweigh my pain and circumstances.  Paul goes on to explain the depth of his despair.

"For we do not want you to be unaware brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia.  For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.  Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death."

Paul completely opens his heart here when he talks about the depth of his affliction to the point of death!  But in the next verse he is quick to give a heavenly reason for even this extensive pain.

"But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.  He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us."

Bingo!  He brings it home.  Sometimes God allows pain, suffering or a dangerous situation to make us not rely on ourselves but on Him!  This makes my anxiety drop as I stop trying to "fix" things and simply go to Him for my comfort and His answer to whatever it is I'm going through.  Next Paul makes a confirming statement that we can adopt for ourselves.

"On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again."

Paul finishes off with the reason for prayer.

"You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many."

I never stop being amazed at the Bible and how it speaks to our individual problems.  There is so much content in these few verses, so much wisdom, comfort, direction and truth!

Whatever your affliction might be - death of a loved one, an illness, a hurtful relationship, finances --- you are promised that if you turn to God for your comfort, He will not only provide the mercy that you seek but He will also use it to comfort others -- even to the point of their salvation.  The hurtful and painful situations that we find ourselves in can be used to the glory of His name and will allow us to play a part in the building of His kingdom!  Instant relief is not promised - comfort is promised, furthering God's kingdom is promised, as well as salvation.

I don't know what you are going through but it is my prayer that you will find comfort from God through my words and that they may point you to Jesus who suffered the ultimate sacrifice in order for those of us who believe to find our eternal comfort.  I would love to hear from you!  I love reading comments!  I don't confess to have all the answers but I know who does!

Have a blessed day!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Why Stampin' Up! (Part 4)

Happy Monday!  At last, the final chapter in my little story.  I hope at least some of you have enjoyed it.  I think it has been a bit therapeutic for me, but I promise in future posts not to be quite as introspective and actually provide you with some useful information.

Although I wasn’t scrapbooking for several years I continued to stamp.  I loved making cards and other gifts for people.  During this time, I dabbled with another company – Stampin’ Up!, which I believe is the best rubberstamping company in existence.   The stamps are awesome and their system of color coordination among ink, markers, paper, ribbon, and embellishments is wonderful.  I was also working at the time and once again gave up this endeavor due to a lack of time.

At this point, the setting will change.  Fast forward several years and a move across the country.  I once again wanted to work from home and tried a short stint with a skin care company and while I loved the products, my heart just wasn’t in it.  I also started a teaching job but had to quit due to medical issues once again.  So here we are at the present time and finally I am getting to the question of why I have become a Stampin’ Up! Demonstrator.  After explaining my history with scrapbooking and rubberstamping, I hope that question is easy to answer.  No other occupation – and I have tried several – has meant so much to me.  This is something that I love, that I am passionate about, and that I believe in.  Especially with our present age of technology – a handmade, handwritten card can mean so much to a friend or family member.  Through this hobby, ( I hate to call it that but to call it a way of life seems a little overdramatic), once again I hope to inspire others and watch them experience the friends that can be made and the lives that can be changed through scrapbooking, rubberstamping, and expressing oneself through art.

So there you have – not quite in a nutshell – my heart and desire to return to my first love.

Coming up - my next few posts will be about our adventures as my best friend, Debbie, visits for two weeks.  

We always have a great time together and love to share things that we find.  You will also be graced by her photography.  I will share with you the places we visit, the projects we attempt, and who knows what else.  If you want a sneak peak of how we roll, read my posts from one of our junking trips to Dallas here.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Why Stampin' Up (Part 3)

Welcome to Part 3 about why I decided to become a Stampin' Up! demonstrator.  I'm enjoying sharing this story and appreciate those who are following along.  I would for you to leave comments!

As I continued experimenting with scrapbooking,  I met a Creative Memories Consultant and I fell in love with the company.  The natural teacher in me was dying to share my new found passion with others so naturally I became a consultant.  This was the beginning of a wonderful time in my life.  For the next 10 years

I continued with Creative Memories

 Meeting many wonderful people

 Hosting extravagant workshops

 and even attending a national conference.  I loved teaching and planning the workshops.  With my health improving and my daughters in high school I went back to work and discovered that I no longer had time to be a consultant.  However, I continued to scrapbook until a tragic event which changed my life forever.  My oldest daughter passed away after an auto accident.  For years I could not bring myself to continue making scrapbooks out of the vast number of photos still waiting for a home.  I would try, but it was just too hard.  

Kristi had enjoyed scrapbooking as well and although it was something that had always brought me such joy – I just didn’t have the heart for it.

  During these first years following the accident, I came to realize how important those years of preserving our memories would be.  I had at least 20 scrapbooks that included pictures, memorabilia, and stories.  I can’t express how precious those albums are to me and to my family.  I have also heard from past customers about how scrapbooking has enriched their lives as well.

Today, scrapbooking has taken on many different forms but the idea is still the same - enriching lives by preserving precious memories!

Next time - Stampin' Up!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Why Stampin' Up (Part 2)

Welcome to Part 2 of why I am once again a Stampin' Up! demonstrator.  Part 1 was entitled Worst Blogger.

Before I get started on the story I wanted to share what I've been doing today.

Something new to Stampin' Up! since I've been with the company is Paper Pumpkin.  Each month you get a new kit with everything you need to make a project like this.  My kit consisted of everything to make four cards with envelopes and a little stamp set and two mini stamp pads that can be used over and over!  If you're interested in more information on how you can subscribe to Paper Pumpkin Click Here 
or leave a comment and I will get back with you personally!

And now................................

The story begins many years ago. 

My daughters were just starting elementary school and I had just been diagnosed with Lupus.  

Due to some complications with my medical issues I was once again a stay-at-home-mom.  In my pursuit of meaningful things to fill my days, I decided that I would make a scrapbook.  Now you have to consider the fact that scrapbooking was not a major player in the craft industry at this time and I had never even heard of Creative Memories, which at that time, was the only supplier.  I did research - something that I love to do - and met some online friends who were doing the same thing.  

My old Creative Memories customers will laugh, but I started with a three ring binder, a box of page protectors, and some construction paper.  My first pages were rather simple and rough but I had discovered my new love!  I don't have many of those first pages. Most of them have been redone.

With more research, I learned the dos and don’ts, which adhesives to use, the importance of all materials being acid free, and how to lay out a page.  

During this time I also discovered rubber stamps.  I met many wonderful people online, some local and some far away.  I learned many things from these friends and became a member of a group of ladies that got together and scrapped and rubberstamped just about every week.

Join me next time as the story continues to my Creative Memories Days!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Worst Blogger

Hello World!  
Ok, I admit it.  I am the worst blogger ever!!!!!  

I haven't written a post since November of last year. 

So much has happened.......... but I won't bore you with the details.

****** Due to medical reasons I am no longer teaching.  

******We are now living on St. Helena Island, 

One of the Sea Islands of Beautiful Beaufort by the Sea in South Carolina. 

 I am still marveling at the beauty that we are blessed to see each day. 

******Finally, I am once again a Stampin' Up! Demonstrator. 

 So now you're caught up!  Whew, I can wipe that guilt from my mind!  AND I vow to be a better blogger!!!!!!!

My posts over the next few days are mainly about why I decided to return to my first love - rubberstamping and scrapbooking - hence Stampin' Up!


This is a rather long story and probably boring to some, but I know there are some old friends out there, and maybe some new ones, who will be interested.  

Old friends - you know who you are! :)

The story begins many years ago……

Look for my next post as I reminisce a bit – but ultimately for a reason.  Now is that a spoiler or what?  P.S. I LOVE COMMENTS!!

Have a blessed day!


Monday, November 4, 2013

Happy Monday

Happy Monday Friends!
Quite a bit has happened since my last blog post and I could bore you with all the details but I would rather just start where I am.
We are living in beautiful Savannah, Georgia
What an amazing place to be!

Just loving life with my husband right now.
Last night I made dinner which consisted of Salmon Patties, Squash Casserole, and Spinach Salad.  The Spinach Salad was from The Pioneer Woman Cooks and I got the casserole from Pinterest.  I wasn't that impressed with the squash so I will continue to look for a better recipe but the Spinach Salad was wonderful!  I love that cookbook!  The meal required chopping two onions - not one of my favorite pastimes.

Lots of tears and sniffles.  I have however come to the conclusion that if you drink wine while chopping, there will be far less tears!

Well, enough about dinner!  I plan to open my Etsy Shop this week as well as a Facebook Page under the name, The Tattered Hankie - kinda a silly name but it describes me pretty well and is close to my heart.  I think I got my love for hankies (as well as tea cups) from my grandmother, Nanny.  The shop will have handmade jewelry created by my Mom and Dad, Shabby Chic Christmas decorations including Stockings, Vintage Finds and Re-creations, and more created by me.  I hope you'll check it out.  I will let you know as soon as it opens!

Here is a little sneak preview - I made these this morning and I'm sure they will find their way onto Stockings!

Thanks for stopping by!  I love comments!


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

We Have A Dream

I want to warn you up front that this post may be rather long, but Rick and I have a dream and I feel a need to express it in writing or print or cyberspace, whatever these blog musings are.  The dream requires a lengthy explanation hence the lengthy post.......

A couple of weeks ago we celebrated, yes we chose to call it celebrating, Kristi's 7th year in heaven with Mattie and Cody in South Carolina.  It was a sweet (TV-free) time of fun and conversation.  I am so thankful for what God is doing through them although the distance is taking a toll on all of us; our family has been through so much that I really believe we are meant to be closer.

This morning I was thinking back on this past year - Mattie getting married - moving across the country - but also about the birth of a dream.  Let me back up a bit.............last summer while planning a wedding we were also planning a road trip across several states to help Mattie and Cody move to their new home and new life on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina.  At about the same time I found out that my great grandmother's family was from upper state SC and had lived on a plantation there.  My great grandmother was a very special lady and I of course wanted to see this plantation - well it turned out that it was for sale - which got the history teacher and romantic in me to thinking about how cool it would be to open a bed and breakfast in the area where my family had lived - so Rick and I planned a little side trip to see the plantation.  In so doing we found another bed and breakfast in the area to spend the night - oh, did I mention that it was also for sale?  As we drove north from Hilton Head I can't tell you how beautiful and peaceful it was.  In a strange way I felt very at home.  On the way to the bed and breakfast, Walnut Lane Inn, we found my family's plantation.  I'm so thankful that I got to see it and although beautiful it was not really b and b material.  When we arrived at the gracious Walnut Lane Inn, my heart skipped a beat - this huge majestic house radiated warmth and hospitality.  Surrounded by lush landscaping, Rick and I sat on the porch and listened to a symphony of birds' songs as we de-stressed after some very busy, wedding preparation months.  What I felt there reminded me of another time - the summer after losing Kristi we were invited to spend some time in northern Arizona.  We were hosted by some dear people who just spent time with us and shared the amazing mountains and landscapes which represented God's beauty after a time of terror and heartache.  I can't explain it but that week began the healing process for me as I drank in God's majesty and was given the freedom to talk or not talk with people who truly cared about what I was going through.  The memory of that time and the peacefulness of this new place were the seeds for the dream - what if I could create that same oasis for other hurting parents - the parents that I still receive emails from, crying and begging me for hope after the loss of their own children.  Little did I know that Rick was thinking the same thing.

It is now a few months short of a year later and we have prayed, talked, figured and prayed some more and the dream just won't go away.  Despite the obstacles, we still believe that this is where God is leading us.  In case I have been allusive, our dream is to buy the Walnut Lane Inn and use it not only as our career and livelihood, but also a place where I can host the parents that I still receive emails from, a place where they can come, free of charge and expectation, and experience God's beauty and peace if only for a short time.  We have drawn up a business plan and are confident that the bed and breakfast, which is also a wedding venue, would support itself as well as the ministry to parents who have lost children.  There are obstacles, as I mentioned, we need to sell our house (it is currently on the market) and although the current owners of Walnut Lane Inn are willing to finance, they require a very large down payment - something that we do not have - but we are trusting that God will provide if it truly is His will.  After losing Kristi, I have always felt that there would be some type of ministry that God would provide where we could use our experience to honor not only her memory but most of all His greatness - could this be it?

I'm not sure why I felt a need to share this dream in my little blog where I'm not even sure if anyone will read i,t but just getting it out has helped me to solidify the dream.  If there are readers out there - I would appreciate your prayers as we wait for God's provision to fulfill Our Dream.............